City accepts $53M water settlement; money to pay off bond


If you’re a Cal Water customer you won’t have to pay as big of a rate hike as expected.

The reason? A $53 million settlement over contaminated water. 

Cal Water and the city of Bakersfield sued Dow Chemical to recover costs to upgrade 35 city wells to protect against contamination.

The case was related to the contaminant TCP, manufactured by Dow Chemical and Shell Oil. Scientists say TCP can cause cancer and upgrading the wells resulted in higher fees for city customers.

Wednesday night, the city council accepted a $53 million settlement from Dow Chemical and Shell Oil.

$23 million of it will be used to pay off a water revenue bond.

Councilman Willie Rivera told 17 News Wednesday night, the settlement voids a 13 percent rate increase later this year and a 7.6 percent increase in 2019. 

But, it’s unknown if a 16 percent rate increase to pay for ongoing maintenance, will be reduced until the work is completed.

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